Persimmon is a deep orange, waxy fruit which is similar to a tomato in shape. Persimmons which have dark-coloured flesh are always sweet and should be eaten before they become too soft.
This delicate fruit is native to China. From China, it spread to Korean peninsula and Japan and later it was introduced to the rest of the world.
Types of Persimmons
The Original Persimmon (astringent) are large, heart shaped fruits, ranging in colour from pale orange to deep red-orange.
The Sweet Persimmon (non-astringent) also known as the Fuyu Fruit is round, with a diameter of around 10cm. The fruit has a slightly flattened top that holds their green stem.
Health benefits of Persimmons
Persimmons have one of the highest ascorbic acid (vitamin C) contents of any fruit, and a single persimmon has approximately 80% of the daily requirement of that beneficial nutrient. Vitamin C stimulates the immune system and increases the production of white blood cells, which are the primary line of defence for the body against microbial, viral, and fungal infections, as well as foreign bodies or toxins.
Persimmons contain health benefiting flavonoid poly-phenolic anti-oxidants such as catechins and gallocatechins in addition to having an important anti-tumor compound, betulinic acid. Catechins found to have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic (prevents bleeding from small blood vessels) properties.
Persimmons are also rich in a number of vitamins, specifically vitamin A, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and cryptoxanthins. These can all function as antioxidants in the body as well, specifically to reduce oxidative stress and prevent signs of premature aging, like wrinkles, age spots, Alzheimer’s disease, fatigue, loss of vision, muscles weakness and a number of other conditions.
It also contains many valuable B-complex vitamins such as folic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), thiamin…etc. These vitamins act as co-factors for numerous metabolic enzymatic functions in the body.
In Australia Persimmons are in season from late February to mid June.
Original Persimmons need to be harvested once fully mature and are ready for eating ie when the flesh is soft, jelly-like and very sweet. If this variety is eaten too early, the astringency will be unpleasant
Sweet Persimmons can be eaten when crisp and crunchy or when soft depending on consumer preference and their peel is edible.
Special Note: Persimmons do lower blood pressure significantly, so if you are hypotensive, it can be dangerous.